For all those times you’ve been anchored in Von Donop and wished there was a lake nearby to go for a swim, there is! There seems to be a lovely hidden lake that barely any cruisers know about since it’s off the beaten trail. We have been going to this lake for years and have only ever seen anyone else on the trail twice. Each time we’ve gone we’ve had the entire lake to ourselves.
Yes, Cortes Island seems to have a bad reputation for wolves, but I don’t know if it’s actually that’s bad. The first couple times we hiked into Robertson Lake we came prepared. I had my dinghy adventure bag, bear spray ready for quick access and were on alert for any noises in the bush. Well, that has since changed.
A few years back we realized that we were one of those ‘city tourists’ in the woods. We had a great swim at the lake and were hiking back to our tender. About half way back we hear some people coming. Not too long we had three kids probably under the age of 12 walk by us. They were carrying a cooler, pool toys and a paddle for a canoe. The kids just passed us as non chalent as they were ‘off to the beach’. Here we are hiking prepped to be eaten by wolves and these kids just pass us. We keep on hiking and about 10 minutes later we run into their parents. Us, ‘city tourists’ run into local residents of Cortes Island. They were a very friendly couple (definitely island hippies), they told us about the lake and a few other points of interest of the island (you’ll need to wait for a future blog post, lol).
So about the hike. The hike in is about 30 minutes. It doesn’t quite qualify for an ‘easy’ hike, some ups and downs, but no intense hiking shoes required, I’ve done this hike in flip flops. The trail head is outside of Von Donop Inlet. Dinghy out the inlet and at the head of the inlet turn right. Follow the shoreline around until you get to a little bay by a stream. If you have a light tender you could beach your tender, but we’ve always anchored out dinghy out off the big rocks.
The trail head is marked by a tree, there is no official start, so I use the tree. Depending on what side of the beach you’re on, cross the stream as if you’re heading back to Von Donop, walk up the stream a little bit and you’ll see a trail, you’re there! The trail is in ok shape. This is not an official park trail so it’s not maintained, meaning trees can fall across the trail, but we’ve always found a nice route around any fallen debris. There are a couple forks in the hike, but you’ll soon realize you’ve gone the wrong way. Early on the trail there seems to be an option to go left, and then there is a second fork in the road. This fork you go right, but if you go left you’ll just arrive at the lake a little earlier. If you keep hiking right, you’ll arrive at a nice rock area which is a perfect spot to hang out and swim. It’s not a huge rock, but it’s the first obvious rock to stop, you won’t miss it.
If you’re anchored in Von Donop I recommend this dinghy adventure. It’s a nice hike to get some exercise and the water is fantastic for swimming.